Dec 03

Additional Breathing Exercises for Singing

This article builds on the principles learned from the introduction. It seeks to teach additional breathing techniques for singing – to improve your breathing capacity and control during vocalization.

As we mentioned in the first article about breathing exercises for singing, breathing properly is a foundational skill for good singing. When you sing, you are carrying tones using the flow of air in your breath. If you have greater control over your airflow, you will possess greater control over your singing tone.

It might help to imagine a kite flying in the air. With a strong flowing air current, the kite flies smoothly and steadily in the sky. If there is an inconsistent flow of air, the kite dips and bobs uncontrollably. Your singing voice is just like the flying kite. With a strong steady flow of air, your voice will effortlessly flow to our ears. However, if the airflow in your lungs is not controlled well, your voice will quiver and break.

However, prior to attempting these exercises, please make note that inhaling more oxygen than what your body is used to can cause dizziness. You should always use caution and stand close to a support in case you feel lightheaded. Always consult your Doctor before starting a new exercise routine.

The Four Count Breathing Exercise

Proper breathing while singing engages the diaphragm. Practice the routine outlined below to reinforce good breathing habits.

  • Inhale deeply, then exhale completely
  • Inhale and exhale
  • Inhale again, only this time, inhale for four seconds. Hold your breath for four seconds, then exhale for four seconds and wait four seconds before inhaling again
  • Repeat the four second breathing exercise 3 times in a row

Inhale 2 3 4, Hold 2 3 4 Exhale 2 3 4 and Wait 2 3 Again.
Inhale 2 3 4, Hold 2 3 4 Exhale 2 3 4 and Wait 2 3 Last Time.
Inhale 2 3 4, Hold 2 3 4 Exhale 2 3 4 and Wait 2 3 4.

You can practice this exercise everyday. Forming superior breathing habits is all about repetition. The more you practice breathing with your diaphragm, the stronger the habit will become, and the greater control you will have over your voice.

As you become more skilled, increase the length of time in between breathing phases. Inhale for 8, 12, or even 16 seconds. Try varying the time between inhalation and exhalation. Singing incorporates many different phrase lengths, so you should practice managing different patterns of airflow.

Bend Over Breathing Exercise

  • Stand with your feet about shoulders width apart
  • Bend over at the waist, such that your hands are almost touching the floor. Relax your head and shoulders completely
  • From this position, begin to inhale
  • Let your torso rise a little with the inhalation of the breath
  • Allow your body to slump down again as you exhale
  • Take a second breath, allowing your body to rise as you breathe in, and fall as you breathe out
  • On your third breath, gradually straighten your torso to the upright position, and slowly raise your arms above your head. The goal is to lift your rib cage higher. Make sure you continue to breathe in slowly throughout this movement.
  • Allow your body to slump down again as you exhale
  • Repeat this exercise three more times.

Arm Stretch Breathing Exercise

  • Stand up straight with your weight positioned slightly more on one foot than the other
  • Relax your stomach muscles and breathe in slowly
  • As you inhale, raise your arms sideways to shoulder level, then bring them forward, stretching as far in front of you as possible. You should be inhaling during this entire movement
  • Exhale and relax your arms back down
  • Repeat this exercise 4 times

Panting Breathing Exercise

  • Sit in a comfortable chair, with back straight and good posture
  • Start panting, taking quick, deep breaths. 1 second for inhalation, 1 second exhalation
  • Perform 20-30 repetitions
  • Take a 2 minute break
  • Then pant faster, about half a second for inhalation, half a second for exhalation
  • Perform 20-30 repetitions
  • Take a 2 minute break
  • Try panting even faster, aiming for quarter second inhalation, and quarter second exhalation
  • Perform 20-30 repetitions.

1 comment

    • carmen nakasu on May 23, 2012 at 7:13 pm
    • Reply


    I found them all great! I had already bumped into a few at a Yoga book, but I loved the way you put them.

    Thanks a bunch! I’ll surely use them in my voice classes!

    Best wishes,

    Carmen Nakasu

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